"Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor." - 1 Peter 2:17 NIV
Thoughts for Today
Each of us is born into an earthly family. Within that family we are to love one another and care for one another's needs. But God has also blessed Christians with another family: the family of believers who follow Christ as Savior. Instructions for ways we are to love one another abound in the New Testament.
Sometimes we limit our concept of the family of believers to our local church body. But the Bible makes it clear that every Christian believer--everywhere--is a member of the family. All denominations. All cultures. All races. And we are to love one another.
Consider this …
Loving one another means living at peace with one another. "Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!"(James 5:9 NIV). "Live in harmony with one another" (Romans 12:16 NIV).
Within the local church, jealousy, competitiveness, and bitterness often replace the love God wants us to share. And we tend to be suspicious and critical of other Christian denominations and cultures who do things differently than we do.
God says we are family. All of us. We are his representatives here on earth. How well are we representing him? When unbelievers look at our family, do they see the love of Christ?
Father, help me show more love to my Christian family. Forgive me for any unforgiveness or mistrust. Help me to love my brothers and sisters with the love of Christ. In his name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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